What graduate school is about: goals and survival skills

What graduate school is about: goals and survival skills

SIGNEWGRAD Professor Lloyd - 416 Smith Hall - [email protected] Mondays - 3:30 to 4:45PM What is SIGNEWGRAD all about? Presentation and discussion what to expect in graduate school (especially in a PhD program) things you need to know how to hopefully succeed Presentations by all twenty department faculty on their research (25 minutes per faculty member) SIGNEWGRAD

Why this course? Graduate school, especially a PhD program is very different Knowing about faculty research areas is important Your thesis area and topic, your research advisor Where to get certain kinds of help on your thesis New students generally do not really know what to expect What is expected of the students in SIGNEWGRAD?

Attend class - attendance will be taken; at most two absences Be attentive, ask questions, participate! Complete one assignment (at least two pages) for another course this semester using Latex Graduate School - The Basics Why graduate school? What earning a PhD is all about Survival skills, issues Adapted from presentations and slides by: A. Condon - University of British Columbia C. Yiu - Penn State University S. Eggers - University of Washington S. Humphreys - UC Berkeley J. Cuny - University of Washington The CRA-W Grad Cohort for Women Program Special thanks to Professor Pollock

Why earn a PhD? You want to do research, discover new knowledge You need a PhD to get the job you want Professor Industrial research lab You want to be able to say that you have a PhD

Could not get the job you wanted What earning a PhD is about Becoming broadly trained at a reasonably high level in computer science Becoming an expert in some specialized area of computer science Becoming a state of the art researcher in your specialized area How to succeed in graduate school Work VERY hard It is a full time++ job You are largely your own boss

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Accordingly a genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework - Thomas Edison Redefining success Class performance is important, but not as important as before In research: the direction is often ambiguous no-one knows the answers! Learn from all aspects of grad school

Classes: engage in discussions, ask questions! Projects: develop assessment, writing skills Seminars: learn how to frame an idea ... and ask questions! People: sound out ideas Papers: learn the art of reading a paper -- use spare time to find and read interesting papers What about your courses?

Learn about likely research areas Learn about important techniques Initially, try courses in a broad range of areas Get project experience Learn about the profs ... and impress them! What about research? "If you want to make important discoveries, work on important problems - P.B. Medawar "A successful life is one that is lived through understanding and pursuing one's own path, not chasing after the dreams of others - Chin-Ning Chu "The joy of research must be found in doing, since every harvest is uncertain - T. Smith

Communicate technical material well Distill complex ideas down to a few clear, concise statements Volunteer to present in seminars Get (and give) feedback Practice, practice, practice! Manage your time Prioritize

Eliminate context-switching overhead Decide what is most important Make time to think about and do research! For TA duties, respond to emails in batches, rather than being interrupt-driven For research, allocate several contiguous hours & eliminate distractions Plan ahead for departmental milestones qualifying exams, breadth requirements, finding an advisor

Adjusting to grad school Common transition reaction: insecurity Everybody arrives with different strengths Do I know enough? Am I smart enough? They went to Harvard But really, everyone is in the same boat Hard work makes up for a lot

Grad school is very bursty At times, it will demand enormous amounts of time Give yourself time to recover between the bursts A positive, proactive approach You are in charge of your graduate career... You need to make things happen You CAN make things happen Always believe in yourself

its normal to lose confidence sometimes if you always excel, youre probably not taking enough risks find others who believe in you too celebrate each step forward!

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